The Donor Advantage Program was developed to encourage, recognize and reward FREQUENT blood, platelet and plasma donors. Although the program requires at least one donation attempt every 13 months to keep your points active, we hope that you will make multiple donations each year to earn points, enjoy the gifts of the program and, most importantly, ensure that we always have an ample blood, platelet and plasma supply for patients in need.
Select a link below to view questions and answers by topic.
- Donor Advantage Program Questions
How does the Advantage program work?
Simple. Each time you donate blood, platelets or plasma you not only save lives, you earn points. When you accumulate at least 800 points, you can go online to redeem your points for a variety of gifts or you can donate your points to select charitable organizations.
How many points do I earn for each donation?
- 50 points for a Whole Blood donation
- 150 points for an Automated Red Cell donation (Alyx)
- 25 bonus points for donations made at a Donor Center
- 125 Points for a Single Platelet donation
- 50 Additional Points for a Double Platelet donation
- 125 Additional Points for a Triple Platelet donation
- 50 Additional Points for a Single Platelet + Red Cell combo donation
- 75 Additional Points for a Double Platelet + Red Cell combo donation
- 50 Additional Points for a Platelet + Plasma combo donation
- 75 Additional Points for a Double Platelet + Plasma combo donation
- 75 Additional Points for Platelet donations made on Saturday, Sunday and Monday
- 50 Additional Points for Platelet donations made on Friday
- 75 Points for a Plasma donation
How do I redeem points for a gift?
Easy. Browse our Online Gift Catalogue and login using your email address, birth date and password. This is the same password you use to schedule appointments on our webpage www.nybloodcenter.org. From here you’ll see your point balance and the gifts available. You must have 800 points available in order to redeem but gift choices start at 500 points.
Do my points ever expire?
If you do not make any donations for a 13 month period you will forfeit all remaining Advantage points. This requirement will be waived while any donor is temporarily or permanently deferred from donating blood.
What can I get with my points?
Your Advantage points are redeemable for a wide variety of gifts. Browse our Online Gift Catalogue to view what is available today. Gifts are always changing based on availability. You can redeem points once you have at least 800 points available.
Can I donate my points to charitable organizations?
Yes, whenever you donate blood, you always have the thanks of grateful patients who receive your products. If you’d like your donation to do a double good, visit the Charitable Organizations page and select the option to donate your points to a charitable organization. You may donate as few as 500 points. Thank you!
When will I get my gift?
After your order is placed, your gift will be mailed to you within 2-4 weeks. If you have any questions about your order status, contact our Concierge hotline: 1-800-933-BLOOD (2566).
- General Questions
If I have traveled to a country that has a risk of malaria can I still donate blood or platelets?
If you have spent more than 24 hours in an area of any country that has a risk of malaria you are temporarily deferred from donating for 12 months from the time you return to the U.S.
If I have traveled to the United Kingdom or Europe can I donate?
If you have spent 3 months or more in the United Kingdom from 1980-1996, you are permanently deferred from donating. If you have spent time that adds up to 5 years or more in Europe from 1980 to the present you are permanently deferred from donating.
When can I donate after receiving a flu shot?
You may safely donate immediately after receiving a Flu Shot if you are feeling well and healthy.
When can I donate after taking antibiotics?
You may donate blood, platelets or plasma the same day the last dose of your antibiotic is taken if you are feeling 100% well.
Can I donate while taking certain medications?
Most medications are acceptable for blood donation however please call us at 1-800-688-0900 to determine if your medication defers you from donating for any period of time.
Can I donate if I have a tattoo?
Donors who receive tattoos are deferred from donating for 12 months unless it was applied in New Jersey at a licensed tattoo parlor, in which case you can donate immediately.
Can I donate with allergies?
Yes, as long as you currently have no sinus or respiratory infections.
Can I donate if I am anemic?
No, but if your hematocrit is at least 38.0 (females) or 39.0 (males) at the time of donation you will be eligible to donate. If you know you are anemic, please discuss donating with your physician.
Can I donate if I have donated stem cells or bone marrow?
Yes, you may safely donate blood 8 weeks after the stem cell or marrow donation.
Can I donate if I am diabetic?
Yes, donors are eligible to donate as long as your diabetes is under control.
Can I donate if I am a nursing mother?
Yes, it is safe to donate at least 6 weeks after delivery.
Can I donate while menstruating?
Before or after donating, will I be able to exercise or play sports?
Yes, but you should avoid lifting, pushing heavy objects, or engaging in strenuous exercise for 4-5 hours after your donation. It would also be important to drink plenty of fluids before exercising.
- Red Cell Questions
How old do I have to be to donate blood?
You are eligible to donate from 16 years of age through 75 years of age with photo or signature ID. Donors who are 76 years of age or older need to present a letter from their physician just once after reaching age 76. Donors who are 16 years old require a signed parental permission/consent form.
How much do I need to weigh to donate blood?
Donors must weigh at least 110 lbs. Additional height/weight requirements apply to donors age 16 through 18.
Can I donate if I am taking aspirin?
Yes, however, platelet donors should not take aspirin for 72 hours prior to donating platelets.
How much blood does the human body contain?
Approximately 8 – 12 pints.
How often can I donate a pint of blood?
Every 56 days not to exceed 6 times a year.
How soon can I donate blood after donating platelets?
You can donate platelets by apheresis 3 days after donating, however if you gave a double or triple platelet by apheresis you must wait 7 days.
How long does it take to donate a pint of blood?
The actual donation takes 7-12 minutes. Donors should plan to spend 1 hour from registration through refreshments. Apheresis donations take somewhat longer.
How long does it take my body to replace the pint of blood that is donated?
Your plasma, platelets and white blood cells are reproduced by the body very quickly but it takes up to 8 weeks for the body to replace your red blood cells.
- Platelet Questions
What is it like to donate platelets?
A platelet donation feels much the same as a whole blood donation. A small amount of blood is taken from your arm using a new, sterile, single use needle. The blood is then spun in a centrifuge to separate your platelets from other blood components. The platelets are collected in a separate bag and the remainder of your blood is returned to you. This cycle is repeated several times to generate the needed volume of platelets.
Who needs my platelets?
Platelets are essential to normal blood clotting. Platelets are often used to treat:
- Cancer patients
- Accident victims
- Patients with blood clotting disorders
- Bone marrow transplant patients.
The need for platelets is constant. Platelets are very fragile, short lived blood cells that must be transfused within 5 days of donation. Weekends and long holidays can place an added strain on the supply of platelets.
Is it safe to donate platelets?
Yes. At all times during the platelet collection process your blood remains inside a sterile tubing system and is never in contact with the equipment used for your platelet donation. All tubing, bags and the needle used to collect your platelets are new, sterile and used only once for you. After use they are disposed of.
How long does it take my body to replace the platelets that are donated?
Your body replaces the platelets very quickly. Your plasma, white cells and red cells are returned to you during the donation process. Because your red cells are returned, you may donate platelets more often than a whole blood donation.
Can I donate platelets and still be a whole blood donor too?
Yes. You can donate whole blood in as few as three days after a platelet donation or donate platelets three days after a whole blood donation. You can donate platelets up to 24 times each year and whole blood every 56 days. Donor eligibility guidelines are the same for both whole blood and platelets except platelet donors must refrain from aspirin or products containing aspirin for 72 hours prior to donation.
- Plasma Questions
What is it like to donate plasma?
A plasma donation feels much the same as a whole blood donation. A small amount of blood is taken from your arm using a new, sterile, single-use needle. The blood then literally ‘takes a spin’ in a centrifuge to separate your plasma from other blood components. The plasma is collected in a separate bag and the remainder of your blood is returned to you. This cycle is repeated several times to generate the required volume of plasma.
Who needs my plasma?
Plasma is most often needed to treat:
- Accident victims
- Burn victims
- Cancer patients
- Patients with thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura
- Patients with blood clotting problems
Is it safe to donate plasma?
Yes, at all times during the plasma collection process your blood remains inside a sterile tubing system and is never in contact with the equipment used for your plasma donation. All tubing, bags and the needle used to collect your plasma are new, sterile and used only once for you. After use, the entire disposable kit is discarded.
How long does it take for my body to replace the plasma that is donated?
Plasma consists of 95% water plus several different proteins, glucose and clotting factors. After donating plasma, your body naturally detects this slight drop in lost water and your kidneys start conserving water. The replacement of water takes a matter of minutes to a few hours after donation. Some of the proteins lost during donation are regenerated within hours, while others take several days to weeks to be fully replaced. After donating plasma, your plasma protein levels should be completely back to normal within four weeks.
Can I donate plasma and still be a whole blood donor too?
Yes, you can donate whole blood 28 days after your plasma donation. You can donate plasma 28 days after a whole blood donation.
If you have any other question that is not answered here, please feel free to call us at 1-800-933-BLOOD (2566). We are here specifically to help donors like you Monday-Friday 8:00AM – 9:00PM, Saturday 9:00AM – 5:00PM.
- Did You Know?
- Platelets are a component of blood that is needed for clotting.
- Platelets are used by cancer patients, accident victims and to help treat other blood disorders.
- Platelets have a shelf life of just 5 days.
- The body replenishes donated platelets very rapidly.
- We can separate platelets from a whole blood donation but it would require 6-8 whole blood donations to generate the same volume of platelets as we get from ONE platelet donation procedure.
- One platelet donation provides enough platelets for a transfusion and is preferred over a platelet transfusion that comes from “pooled platelets” from 6-8 different whole blood donors.
- Some donors have a “high platelet count” which enables them to donate a ‘double’ or ‘triple’ unit without any compromise to their health.
- Some patients who require frequent platelet transfusions need “HLA-matched” platelets. These units come from donors who share the same HLA (human leukocyte antigen) type as the patient. This helps assure that the platelets will help the patient’s blood perform its normal clotting function.
- Close to 2,000 donations are needed each day in the New York/New Jersey community for patients who require a life-saving blood and/or platelet transfusion. Those in need include cancer patients, accident, burn or trauma victims, patients undergoing surgery or a transplant, newborn babies, etc.
- Blood donors must be at least 16 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds, and not have donated blood within the last 56 days. Sixteen year olds must present a signed parental permission form. People age 76 and older can donate blood if they meet all criteria and present a physician’s letter.
- You can safely donate whole blood every 56 days or automated red cells (ALYX) every 112 days.
- There is NO SUBSTITUTE for donated blood. All transfusions in this country are a result of the 8 million volunteer blood donors in the United States.
- Donated blood is perishable just like milk. Red cells last for 42 days; platelets last for 5 days; plasma can be frozen for up to a year.